New Delhi: In the midst of the debate over
the right approach to deal with Naxalism, Congress President
Sonia Gandhi has said the "root causes" of the problem need to
be addressed while tackling it decisively.
"While we must address acts of terror decisively and
forcefully, we have to address the root causes of Naxalism",
she said in the "Letter to the Congresspersons" in the first
remarks on the issue since a controversy had broken out over
Congress General Secretary Digvijay Singh`s article flaying
Home Minister P Chidambaram`s handling of the problem.
"The rise of Naxalism is a reflection of the need for
our development initiatives to reach the grassroots,
especially in our most backward districts. This is why our
government is putting in place more targeted development
schemes for our most backward districts", Gandhi said in the
latest issue of party journal "Congress Sandesh".
Noting that the country is facing "?normous challenge"
from Naxalites, Gandhi recalled that CRPF lost 73 brave jawans
in an attack in Chhattisgarh. "Our thoughts go out to the
grieving families of these men who have lost their lives."
Singh had suggested in the article that Chidambaram was
treating the Naxalite issue as a law and order problem which
was wrong and called for a rethink of counter-Maoist strategy.
The party general secretary had sometime back regretted his
remarks and had also met the Union Home Minister apparently to
clear his stand.
When Singh`s comments had triggered a controversy in
the wake of April 6 Dantewada massacre, Congress distanced
itself from them and said such views should be expressed in
party fora only.
Asked about Gandhi`s remarks, Singh said there was "no
difference" between the approach of the party and the
government in tackling the issue. He suggested he had penned
the article at a time when there was talk of a "military
strategy" to deal with Maoists.
On the newspaper article on Naxalism which had caused a
furore in political circles last month, Singh said he had a
point of view which he put across.
Asked whether the army or the paramilitary forces can be
used against Naxals, Singh said army cannot be used in that
He also indicated the use of paramilitary forces like
CRPF was not advisable as "the terrain is so difficult".
The AICC General Secretary recalled that the debris of
one helicopter which crashed in the difficult terrain could be
traced only after 45 days while the debris of another
helicopter was traced after 27 days.
Singh alleged the intelligence of Chhatisgrh police
failed completely even as it was the responsibility of the
state police to provide information to CRPF.
The Congress leader also criticised the present
functioning of the Salwa Judum, the armed civil group to fight
Naxals in Chhatisgarh, though he said it was started with
the "right intention".